By ZENIT Staff

The grand procession of the revered image of the Black Nazarene in January 2021 will no longer push through due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to CBCP News.

Quiapo Church and Manila City government officials have agreed to cancel the annual religious event that gathers millions of devotees due to the health crisis.

Msgr. Hernando Coronel, Rector of Quiapo Church, said he was “saddened” by the turn of events but stressed that health and safety are paramount.

“We thought this may be our darkest moment. But when it is darkest, the stars come out. We will fill this by drawing strength from one another. The story of the Nazarene is really love,” Coronel said.

Millions of devotees join the “translacion” from the Quirino Grandstand to the Quiapo Church every year, hoping to see and touch the centuries-old wooden statue of Jesus.

In lieu of the procession, the priest said that more Masses will be held for the devotees.

“We’re trying to come up with ways to have this celebration. Our devotion will be shown by having mass to honor our Black Nazarene,” Coronel said.

He said that another option that they are looking into is to “decentralize” the celebration to decongest Quiapo Church.

This means that simultaneous Masses will be held in different parishes with a replica of the image of the Black Nazarene.

“We will localize the celebration with simultaneous Masses in the parishes,” Coronel added.

Manila Mayor Isko Moreno said that public health protocols must be a top priority as Covid-19 remains a threat to the nation’s capital.

“Let us avoid parades and processions while there is a pandemic. These may put devotees at risk, endangering their lives,” Moreno said.

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